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Concerns About Inaccurate Software And Statins Use

Dear Patients

Possibly you have read in local and national papers about a concern related to prescribing of medications called statins by GPs due to an IT hitch and wondered does it affect you?

Background

There is a programme called QRISK. Drs and Nurses use this in low risk people who have never had a heart attack or stroke but who may have “high cholesterol” or “blood pressure” to calculate the risk of a stroke in the next ten years. It uses a number of factors including the patients age, sex, blood pressure, smoking history and, cholesterol. This aids the clinicians to have an informed consultation with patients about the risks and significance of tests. It helps us all to then decide should we treat cholesterol with medications called Statins (Simvastatin, rosuvastatin and atorvasatatin are the main ones used locally). As a practice we have used this programme since we moved to a new computer system in around 2014; prior we used a slightly older programme called JBS2.

Issue/concern

When the new computer system suppliers wrote their software in 2009 they made an error with setting up how QRISK calculates the risk. This means when the clinicians used the inbuilt systmOne version of the tool, someone may have a risk under calculated, correctly calculated or over calculated compared to the real risk. This potentially means people have been reassured when they should not have been, been reassured/treated correctly or treated when the benefits may not have been there from treatment.

Solution

SystmOne have now recognised this problem in recent weeks. They have run the tool again on every patient we have used it on since October 2015. They have written to us with the patients where the score was inaccurate and we have checked the notes.

For these patients we have written to them to invite them in for a review and to discuss the implications of any changes of these scores. To provide some reassurance in total the tool was used around by us 93 times since 1st October and the affected numbers where the score was wrong is very low (less than 10 for us as a practice).

There are around a further 90 patients who used the tool prior to 1st October 2015 since the time we moved to the new system in around 2014 which SystmOne will do a similar calculation about in the coming days. There is no easy means for us to do this calculation as SystmOne has now suspended the tool. When we get their new scores we will do a similar review of the information and directly contact those affected patients.

What do I do now?

In the short term there is no cause for concerns and if you are taking these medications, please keep taking them. The most recently affected group of patients now should have a letter and we look forward to seeing you soon to explain in more detail. For anyone else who is worried we hope this information is of help. If you need more information please book a routine appointment with one of the doctors or nurses and we will see if we can answer any remaining queries.

(Site updated 24/05/2018)
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